HISTORIC PRESERVATION:

Cherokee County Historical Society



   Canton Cotton Mill #2

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A view of Canton Cotton Mill #2Canton Cotton Mill #2 is located northeast of the city of Canton and is bordered by Georgia Highway 5 on the north and the Etowah River on the south. Built in 1923, Canton Cotton Mill #2 is comprised of a three-story, brick main manufacturing building; an attached, one-story, brick dye house; and eight one-story, brick warehouses. The mill was designed and built by C.E. Blank, an architect and builder for Dressler Industries, headquartered in New England.

 

The original main building is 34 bays long and 10 bays wide. On the west end, an L-shaped one-story dye house is attached to the building, creating an alley behind the main building. Eight one-story warehouses are located behind the main building, running the length of the alley. This layout allowed for short distances between production areas and warehouses. In 1930, a two-story, 16 bay wing was added to the east end of the main building.

 

By 1947, an additional warehouse was built, two warehouses were enlarged, and the alley was covered to create a machine shop. Three additional warehouses were also built but are no longer extant. The next major expansion occurred between 1947 and 1951. A three-story, nine-bay-long addition was added to the west end of the main building, two floors and a one-story addition were added to portions of the dye house, a second floor was added to warehouse #5, and a bridge connected the second floor of the main building to warehouse #5. The main mill building is of heavy-timber construction with load-bearing brick walls. Three towers are attached on the south fašade and two on the west fašade. The fenestration consists of one rectangular window in each bay on each floor. The interior of the building features an open plan with wood columns and beams and maple floors.

 

The c. 1950 two-story addition features steel columns and beams with a portion of the first floor having concrete mushroom column construction. The attached, brick dye house features heavy-timber construction and an open plan. The eight warehouses are wood construction with concrete floors and an open plan. A concrete loading dock runs along the south side of warehouse #2, 3, and 4. The second floor of warehouse #5 features arched multi-light metal windows. During the certified rehabilitation, the mill buildings were converted into loft apartments. The mill village historically associated with Canton Cotton Mill #2 is physically separated from the mill by the four-lane Georgia Highway 5 and nonhistoric commercial development and thus is not included in the nomination.

 

National Register Areas of Significance: Architecture and Industry.

In 1899, the charter for Canton Cotton Mill was granted. The primary investor in the company was Robert Tyre Jones (1849-1937), who contributed $25,000 of the $75,000 needed to start construction. Robert Jones was the owner of the Jones Mercantile Company, one of the largest mercantile companies in the area during the late 19th century. Canton Cotton Mill #1 was constructed in 1900 along the railroad near the Etowah River on the southwest side of Canton. Robert Jones oversaw the mill operations and led the initiative to switch production from cotton sheeting to the more-profitable denim material. The mill became well known in the industry, and with government contracts during World War I and increased efficiency, the company decided to build a second plant. Mill #2 was located northeast of Canton, outside the city limits, along Georgia Highway 5.

 

Construction for mill #2 began in late 1923 and finished in the summer of 1924. Operations at mill #2 began shortly thereafter with 750 looms and 23,000 spindles. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the mill produced fine denim cloth known for its quality and durability. During the 1940s, the mill projected low-grade cotton tent twill for the government. In 1950, an addition to mill #2 allowed the company to double its manufacturing capacity.

 

In 1963, the company implemented a massive reorganization and modernization effort which included new automated equipment, the projection of blended synthetic fibers, and the name changing to Canton Textile Mills. During the late 1960s and 1970s production at the mill declined with the demand for cotton fabrics at a low, due to the growing dominance of polyester fabric.

 

In 1981, the mill closed. Canton Cotton Mill #2 is a significant in the area of architecture as a good example of an early 20th-century textile mill. The main mill building and dye house retain their brick and heavy-timber construction, fenestration, and industrial features. The warehouses retain their brick-an-wood construction and concrete floors. The mill is significant in the area of industry for its role in the development of Canton and the importance of the textile mill in the city's economy. The mill provided employment for one-third of the population in the area. The mill remained an important manufacturer of cotton fabrics until its closing in 1981.

 
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